Mediterranean Couscous Salad | Flavorful and easy to make, this Mediterranean couscous salad recipe is great for summer when you want to cook inside less. This easy side dish recipe goes perfectly with backyard grilling or summer picnics.
Is couscous Mediterranean?
Couscous is a tiny pasta that originates from North Africa where it's still a staple food today. It fits well into a Mediterranean diet because the Mediterranean diet is centered around whole grains such as couscous.
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How to make Mediterranean Couscous
For my Mediterranean Couscous I cook the couscous with the boiling water as usual (no stove-top needed!) and then add in a bunch of Mediterranean inspired ingredients like bell peppers, olives, capers, lemon juice, fresh herbs and olive oil resulting in a fresh and flavorful side dish.
See ingredients and instructions below.
About the ingredients for this recipe. See the recipe card below for exact amounts.
- couscous: I use regular couscous because it's so easy to make in the summer with no cooking, simply boiling a kettle. If you want to cook a bit, Israeli couscous, also called pearl couscous, would be good here. Or try my Pearl Couscous salad.
- chopped bell pepper and red onion: about a cup of mixed chopped bell peppers is enough for this recipe - use your favorite ones. I also like red onion, but if you don't like raw red onion, skip it.
- capers: capers are the unripened bud of a Mediterranean plant that are pickled, which gives them their briny flavor, similar to a pickle or olive.
- olives: another Mediterranean ingredient, I used black olives for this couscous but you can use green olives or Kalamata olives (I've actually been to Kalamata, Greece! I am part Greek.)
- lemon juice: I say this all the time here but I prefer fresh lemon juice personally, but you can use fresh or bottled - whatever you have on hand and like. This gives a freshness and brightness to this dish.
- oil: I either use the oil from a jar of artichokes (it's already so flavorful) or extra virgin olive oil for this couscous salad.
- fresh parsley: I love a fresh herb in a salad and parsley was my choice for this one, but fresh oregano or basil would be lovely here.
- chop the bell peppers, red onion, black olives, capers, and parsley
- boil a kettle of water
The thing that makes this Mediterranean couscous recipe so easy is that:
- couscous cooks quick, easy, and hands off
- once you have everything chopped you just add, stir and serve.
- you don't even need to turn the stove-top on
Add the dry couscous to a bowl.
Add boiling water.
Add salt, quickly stir and then add a lid. Let sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
Add the chopped bell pepper, onion, olives and capers.
Squeeze the lemon juice in.
Add oil - I like extra virgin olive oil or the oil from a jar of artichokes - it's already so flavorful!
Add chopped parsley (or basil or oregano).
Stir and then taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed and then serve.
Check below for other ingredients you could add to this salad and ideas on what to serve with this Mediterranean couscous salad.
RECIPE TIP: Using the oil from jars of artichokes or sun dried tomatoes is an easy way to add flavor to dishes.
✔ This recipe is vegetarian and vegan.
> Like cheese? Add some crumbled feta cheese on top.
> Want some protein? Add some chickpeas, crispy chickpeas, veggie balls, or sliced grilled chicken breast on top.
> Want even more toppings? Add chopped artichokes, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, diced cucumber, chopped pepperoncini, or cherry tomatoes.
For this recipe I use a kettle for boiling the water - you could do this on the stovetop in saucepan also. I also use a chef's knife and cutting board to prepare the bell pepper, onion, olives, capers and parsley. I linked similar items below.
Store leftovers in a container with a lid in the fridge for 3-5 days. Fluff with a fork before serving and add a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice if the couscous seems dry.
More recipes with couscous
What to serve with Mediterranean Couscous
For a plant-based dinner:
For a 'meat on the side' dinner:
For a 'veggies on the side' dinner:
Tips + FAQs
Whole grain couscous, with the bran and germ still intact can be part of a healthy varied diet. Whole grain couscous has double the amount of protein and fiber as the same amount by weight of whole grain rice and the same calorie count.
- Add the dried couscous, boiling water, and salt together in a bowl. Quickly stir then add a lid. Let sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and serve.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
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